Any idea how to incorporate more fat into seitan? With the purpose to bind flavor for richer and more complex taste, similar to beef.

8 Answers 8


I have been experimenting with this very thing, which is how I stumbled on this conversation. Real meat (I'm not a vegetarian so I can easily compare) has a different mouth feel. Deli meat feels stretchy and fatty, which seitan never does. It's just stretchy. Adding oil to the mix just seems to make the seitan more brittle. My best luck so far is using the Chicago Diner (famous old vegetarian place) method which is to make the seitan straight, cook it, and THEN modify it. So they make and simmer their basic seitan, then slice and THEN marinade based on how they want it to come out. Different marinades for gyros, corned beef, or turkey. I'm having decent luck marinading my veggie ham (that's been cooked and sliced) in oil.


Without knowing what specific recipe you're starting from, it's hard for me to say exactly. However, there are definitely recipes out there that call for olive oil as an ingredient in seitan (for example: Viva Vegan by Terry Hope Romero, pg. 35). You could try increasing that amount to see what happens, possibly decreasing the broth to keep the same amount of liquid.

Depending on what kind of flavor you're going for, you could experiment with oils that are higher in saturated fat content. Coconut oil is notorious for having a high sat. fat content, however I don't know if it will impart too much taste into your seitan (unless you don't mind that, of course). You could do an experiment with adding melted margarine or shortening to see what happens in those cases.

On another note, do you make seitan with veggie broth or fake beef broth? That also might be worth looking into if you specifically want a "beefier" flavor. I personally love Edward & Sons Not-Beef Cubes.

  • 1
    I don't want to add this to my answer because it's more of a side-thought. Just wondering if adding in something to the mix, like bits of cheeze, might be interesting. Although I know it's really hard to mix anything into seitan... I'm not sure if that would help your original goal, but it popped into my head and sounded interesting enough to type out.
    – lemontwist
    Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 17:09

I've been wondering this too. I wanted a texture more like sausage, with little pieces of fat. I've added finely-chopped onions that I'd caramelized in oil, and crushed up pieces of pine nuts. Both are delicious. The texture is still not exactly like sausage but it's closer, and the onions and pine nuts add extra flavor.


Here's a crazy idea. Freeze a few cubes of Earth Balance or other vegan butter, and blend the gluten flour and cold fat together in a food processor like you were making biscuits. You could also grate the frozen fat and mix it into the flour, being careful not to melt it with your hands.

Steaming or simmering the seitan would likely cause most of the melted fat to run out. But baking, rolling into sausages sealed in foil, or deep frying it could be amazing.

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    Cold shortening shortens even more effectively, that would probably make the end result very tender or brittle... if anything, one would rather use something that absorbs fat (I think some people experimented with eggplant ;) ... porous, pre cooked seitan could also work), deep fry it in good flavored fat and mince it in afterwards. Fat absorption could be helped by cooling the fat-binding ingredient down in ways (and probably the oil too) that you would usually avoid with deep fried foods :) Commented May 6, 2015 at 23:24

Add strips of rice paper. Hydrated of course and or shredded mushrooms cooked first of course baked.. add a lil oil to the mushrooms and it rice paper when incorporating it will give the effect of having a meaty fatty texture.. just a thought learning some new techniques from what I've seen others do.


I have made Seitan a couple of times. I have considered adding coconut oil. Using refined C.O. removes the coconut flavor. It is what Beyond Meat uses in their burgers to get the fatty ground beef effect. I have also made seitan and then marinaded in a marinade with oil in it and that seems to work very well.


The best way to approach getting fat into seitan isn't to put fat in it during the first cooking step, but rather to create air pockets in it for fat to occupy when you cook it with flavorful/fatty liquids.

If you give your gluten a yeast rise, as detailed in this Chinese Cooking Demystified video from 6:55 onwards, after you fry and braise your seitan, it'll have a juicier, more meat-like texture.


I find Kitchen Alchemy/Modernist Pantry to be a great resource. See this link: https://blog.modernistpantry.com/advice/plant-based-marbling-fat/

They suggest creating a fat substitute with a mix of refined coconut oil and methylcellulose. This is stable and solid at room temperature. I was thinking you could make your seitan and after cooling, kind of tease it out so there are gaps, then pour on liquid fat as above and let it all set up. I would think it would then grill or roast up pretty well, because some fat would render out while some would remain.

This method would also potentially work well as a solid pork fat replacement for a vegan slicing type sausage. I’m going to try this soon—let you know how it goes!

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